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Evaluation of the Carbonization of Thermo-Stabilized Lignin Fibers into Carbon Fibers
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Chemistry. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Thermo-stabilized lignin fibers from pH-fractionated softwood kraft lignin were carbonized to various temperatures during thermomechanical analysis (TMA) under static and increasing load and different rates of heating. The aim was to optimize the carbonization process to obtain suitable carbon fiber material with good mechanical strength potential (high tensile strength and high E-modulus). The carbon fibers were therefore mainly evaluated of mechanical strength in Dia-Stron uniaxial tensile testing.

In addition, chemical composition, in terms of functional groups, and elemental (atomic) composition was studied in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and in energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), respectively. The structure of carbon fibers was imaged in scanning electron microscope (SEM) and light microscopy. Thermogravimetrical analysis was performed on thermo-stabilized lignin fibers to evaluate the loss of mass and to calculate the stress-changes and diameter-changes that occur during carbonization.

The TMA-analysis of the deformation showed, for thermo-stabilized lignin fibers, a characteristic behavior of contraction during carbonization. Carbonization temperatures above 1000°C seemed most efficient in terms of E-modulus and tensile strength whereas rate of heating did not matter considerably. The E-modulus for the fibers was improved significantly by slowly increasing the load during the carbonization. The tensile strength remained however unchanged.

The FTIR-analysis indicated that many functional groups, mainly oxygen containing, dissociate from the lignin polymers during carbonization. The EDS supported this by showing that the oxygen content decreased. Accordingly, the relative carbon content increased passively to around 90% at 1000°C. Aromatic structures in the carbon fibers are thought to contribute to the mechanical strength and are likely formed during the carbonization. However, the FTIR result showed no evident signs that aromatic structures had been formed, possible due to some difficulties with the KBr-method.

In the SEM and light microscopy imaging one could observe that porous formations on the surface of the fibers increased as the temperature increased in the carbonization. These formations may have affected the mechanical strength of the carbon fibers, mainly tensile strength.

The carbonization process was optimized in the sense that any heating rate can be used. No restriction in production speed exists. The carbonization should be run to at least 1000°C to achieve maximum mechanical strength, both in E-modulus and tensile strength. To improve the E-modulus further, a slowly increasing load can be applied to the lignin fibers during carbonization. The earlier the force is applied, to counteract the lignin fiber contraction that occurs (namely around 300°C), the better. However, in terms of mechanical performance, the lignin carbon fibers are still far from practical use in the industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 112 p.
Keyword [en]
Lignin, Carbon Fibers, Carbonization, Stabilization, Uniaxial Tensile Testing, Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer (EDS)
National Category
Bio Materials
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120519ISRN: LITH-IFM-A-EX--15/3112--SEOAI: diva2:846024
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Subject / course
2015-06-17, Jordan-Fermi, Fysikhuset, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-08-26 Created: 2015-08-12 Last updated: 2015-08-26Bibliographically approved

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